U.S. Republican congressman from Indiana Mark Souder (C) congressman Eliyah E. Cummings (L) and congressman John Shaddeg talk to the press after meeting the deposed king of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah at the king's residence in the outskirts of Rome November 9, 2001. Referring to the capture of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, Souder welcomed the news and added that the U.S. are clearly putting the pressure on in all parts of Afghanistan. REUTERS/Paolo Cocco PC/AA (© Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

"Frat house" D.C. environment forced Mark Souder to have extramartial trysts in state parks

The Indiana Republican is a victim of windowless offices, evangelical allies claim


Alex Pareene
May 19, 2010 1:05AM (UTC)

The Washington Post has a great story on the downfall of Republican congressman Mark Souder. Anonymous tipsters reportedly called Mark Souder's office (and his opponents) days before the May 4 primary and revealed Souder's affair with staffer Nancy Medows Jackson. The callers also apparently told Souder's opponents that Souder and Jackson met to explore the flaws in abstinence-only education in Indiana state parks.

Souder hired Jackson (who's also married) in 2004. She seems to have spent most of her time interviewing Souder for cable access TV and Internet videos (there are plenty of them). Souder's aides told Minority Leader John Boehner about the affair when they heard about it last week. Boehner spoke to Souder yesterday, and Souder resigned today.

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The same year he hired his mistress, Souder told an STD specialist and CDC officer that out-of-wedlock sex ruins lives.

Thankfully, the Concerned Women for America can explain exactly what happened here.

Those of us who have worked with Mark over the years know him to be a kind and thoughtful legislator. If Mark Souder is capable of sexual misconduct, it could happen to anyone. The frat house environment on Capitol Hill does nothing to encourage accountability. Most Members do not live with their families while they are working in D.C. during the week and have even ditched common rules of etiquette that even major corporations follow such as office doors with windows or careful examination of employee/boss interaction.

It was the "frat house environment on Capitol Hill" that forced Rep. Mark Souder to have sex in Indiana state parks with a woman who lives in Indiana and works at his district office, in Indiana. If only there were windows in the heavily wooded areas near Fort Wayne.


Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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